I was out for a run on the trail the other day when I came up behind an older gentleman wearing a shiny blue baseball jacket and ball cap, strolling, as many men his age do, with both hands clasped together behind his back.
He heard me coming (my gasping for air was hard to miss…) and turned to acknowledge me with a gentle smile, and a polite tip of his cap. I returned the gesture then melted a little inside thinking about what a precious Grandpa he probably is to some cute family.
As I continued on I couldn’t help but think about my own Grandpa, on my Mom’s side. (My Dad’s Dad died before I was born.) He passed away almost 10 years ago, and while I pray for him every night, it had been a long time since I really thought about him.
About how he never left the house without a sharp-looking newsboy cap fitted tightly to his head.
The sound of his laugh when he really got going – ah-TEE-HEE-HEE-HEE! – accompanied by a hearty knee slap. (Holy. Chubby. Child.)
How he called me Kristianna.
How encouraging he was with his grandchildren as we hammered and played in the woodworking shop in his basement when we came to visit.
The sliced banana floating in skim milk that he had every single morning for breakfast.
The way he knew how to fix anything, and everything.
How he waited in line at the Hallmark store every December to get me, his only granddaughter, the collector Barbie ornament he knew I loved to open on Christmas morning.
And “his chair” in the corner of the living room, with a bowl full of butterscotch candies sitting on the end table next to it.
Never in my 19 years of knowing my Grandpa did he ever fill that bowl with anything but rich, sweet, butterscotch candies.
Not peppermint, cherry, cinnamon, or orange. All butterscotch, all the time.
It was this trip down memory lane that had me itching to make a connection with him.
A culinary connection (minus the calamity!)
With, what else…
Lighter Butterscotch Bars, to be exact! Lighter Butterscotch Bars feature a crumbly oatmeal crust made with less sugar and fat than traditional butterscotch bars, topped with a creamy layer made from fat-free sweetened condensed milk, and a modest amount of sweet butterscotch chips.
Crunchy, chopped pecans dot the top.
Then reserved oatmeal crust goes on streusel-style, before the bars are baked, cooled, sliced, and served.
I know my Grandpa would have adored these.
Lighter Butterscotch Bars
Makes 36 bars (148 calories, 5g fat/per bar)
From Cooking Light
1 cup packed brown sugar
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
9oz flour (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (can use old-fashioned oats)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (can use walnuts)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in vanilla and egg, then set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. Add to butter and sugar mixture, then combine with a fork until crumbly.
- Place 3 cups of the oat mixture into the bottom of a non-stick sprayed 9×13″ baking dish. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan, then set it, and remaining oat mixture aside.
- Combine sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch chips, and salt together in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour over the crust, then spread to cover evenly. Sprinkle pecans on top, then add remaining oat mixture on top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Place on a cooling rack and run a knife around the outside edges. Cool completely, then slice and serve.
How do I even begin to describe the dense lusciousness of a Lighter Butterscotch Bar?!
Ultra decadent tasting, with a creamy, chewy inside, and a crispy, crunchy outside – all for just 148 calories a bar. Totally unreal.
That signature, caramely, butterscotch flavor takes me right back to sitting on my Grandpa’s lap, unwrapping a candy or two with him. Sigh!
Thanks for letting me reminisce – he really was special! Off to go sob for a little while!
What did/do you love or remember most about your Grandpa?